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Meertens Institute

Meertens Institute


The Meertens Institute, established in 1926, has been a research institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) since 1952. The institute studies the diversity in language and culture in the Netherlands.

The Meertens Institute’s focus is on contemporary research into factors that play a role in determining social identities in the Dutch society.

Main fields are:

  1. ethnological study of the function, meaning and coherence of cultural expressions
  2. structural, dialectological and sociolinguistic study of language variation within Dutch in the Netherlands, with the emphasis on grammatical and onomastic variation.


The results of the Meertens Insitute’s research are presented in a number of publications.

The institute also publishes its own books. It also organize workshops, symposiums and conferences on a regular basis.

Apart from research, the institute also concerns itself with documentation and providing information to third parties in the field of Dutch language and culture. The Meertens institute possess a large library, with numerous collections and a substantive documentation system, of which databases are a substantive part.


The Meertens Institute and NIAS cooperate on a fellowship set up in 2023 to advance scholarly work in the field of language and culture in the Netherlands and Dutch language and culture in the world. NIAS and the Meertens Institute firmly believe that bringing together perspectives from Dutch and international contexts, and strengthening the internationalization of Dutch linguistics and ethnology, contributes to better science.